What's On

Here is our guide to major events taking place this year, many of which you can participate in.

Sport and fun play an essential part in the everyday lives of Cook Islanders. There’s always something of interest taking place, be it sport, festivals, or celebratory events; plus there’s a multitude of sports codes and active clubs where you will always find a warm welcome.


21 to 27 September - Round Rarotonga Road Race (see below for details)

20 to 26 October - Cook Islands Squash Open 2017. Open to all ages & grades

2 to 4 November - Raro Rugby Sevens

24 November to 1 December - Vaka Eiva International Paddling Competition

29 November to 5 December - Netball in Paradise (see below for details)


15-22 April: Kia Orana Youth Football Festival

The Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) this year launches its inaugural youth event for all interested clubs and schools who wish to play football in paradise. Held at the CIFA complex in Matavera.

21 April - 4 May: Te Mira Ura (Dancer of the Year competitions)

Poetry in motion! Dozens of dancers in three age groups, junior, intermediate and open, take to the stage individually to determine who will be the winner in their chosen category. Finals are then held in the National Auditorium in Rarotonga. This is always a fun and enlightening spectacle for visitors.

1 May – 4 May: Cook Islands Golden Oldies Rugby Festival

Returning again in 2017, this bi-annual event is a great excuse to meet up with old teammates and enjoy a holiday in our little paradise at the same time. Locals plus many visiting players enjoy a laugh both on and off the field.

11 May – 17 May: Air New Zealand International Triathlon Week

First run in 1995, this event sees many overseas athletes from as far away as Sweden competing alongside the locals. Day one starts with the infamous ‘boiler swim’ followed by a pasta party. As well as the triathlon the week features the Hash House Harriers Fun Run and Island Feast, the Turtles Tour de Raro Cycle Race and wraps up with the Matutu Mile Fun Run and sausage sizzle.

1 June – 3 June: Rarotonga Amateur Golf Open 2017

If you love to play golf, why not plan your holiday around this annual event organised by the Rarotonga Golf Club.

28 July – 5 August: Te Maeva Nui Constitution Celebrations

This week-long cultural marathon is held around the date of August 4th, which is the birthday of the Cook Islands as an independent nation. Big dance teams from different islands and districts challenge each other in vibrant competitions requiring energy and dedication. Held at the National Auditorium in Rarotonga, this is the cultural highlight of the Cook Islands year. See photo at top of this page.

26 August: Manureva Aquafest (Muri Lagoon, Rarotonga)

Some of the biggest names in kitesurfing and rank amateurs also, will have a thrill filled day at the annual Manureva Aquafest. This year the venue is Muri Lagoon, Rarotonga, for a one-day only event. Don’t miss it!

21 September – 27 September: Round Rarotonga Road Race

The Round Rarotonga Road Race is an annual week-long event which caters for everyone including families, social, recreational and seriously competitive. The main event is the 31km round the island road race, but there are also many less serious events happening during the week for recreational runners. Why not take the opportunity to combine this event with a holiday in our little paradise and visit the beaches too?

2 November – 4 November: Raro Rugby Sevens

Playing sport and having a good time is something Cook Islanders know how to do well. Attracting participating teams from far and wide, Raro Rugby Sevens (previously known as Sevens in Heaven) has become one of the most popular 7’s competitions in the Pacific. It has also developed a real festival atmosphere.

24 November – 1 December: Vaka Eiva International Paddling Competition

Hundreds of paddlers and their supporters hit Rarotonga’s shores in November each year for Vaka Eiva, an outrigger canoeing festival that is now the largest sporting event in the Cook Islands. This is one of the few traditional Polynesian sports that has survived the test of time plus it has a strong cultural significance. There is an air of festivity on the island all week, from the opening ceremony, throughout the days of racing and social activities, to the wrap-up party at Trader Jacks.

29 November – 5 December: Netball in Paradise

Now in its 6th year, Netball in Paradise attracts teams from around the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand for week-long competitions, from under 13 age grade upwards. This fun week of games and camaraderie provides a good excuse for a family holiday.

All events take place on Rarotonga, unless stated otherwise.

Dates and events are provided courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation but are subject to change without notice. We will do our best to update this page as information comes to hand, but we do recommend confirming event dates with the Visitor Information Centre – phone (+682) 29435, or by email: info@cookislands.gov.ck

Page last updated 29 September 2017

A young Dancer of the Year competitor
Start of the Boiler swim at Trader Jacks
Rarotonga Amateur Golf Open
Manureva Aquafest
Jubilant faces completing the Round Rarotonga Road Race
Raro Rugby Sevens
Vaka Eiva
Te Maeva Nui celebrations